This year the Republic of Slovenia is celebrating its 20th anniversary of independence. To commemorate this, as well as the International Year of Forests, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, and to help greening our Planet, the Embassy of Slovenia will join us at the tree planting event on Sunday, the 20th of March 2011 in Oetingen, 20 km west of Brussels.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia in Belgium, the embassy staff, and Slovenians living in Belgium will plant 20 linden trees (tilia europaea). In Slovenia, the linden tree has been considered much more than a renewable natural resource. From time immemorial, it has been regarded as a national symbol due to its special role. To this day, many a Slovenian village still clusters around an ancient linden tree, and for a good reason. Throughout history, the tree has served as a social and political center of the village. To its inhabitants it symbolized the "tree of life".
"I have a deep affection for the Redwood forests of Northern California. This is my best attempt to capture the reverence I feel when in the presence of these giants."
Everybody at Sunbeams hopes you had a great start in 2011. Here is some advice on how to make the new year the greenest year yet. Are you in?
- "Eco Warrior" Emma Portier Davis has a nice post in this year's first edition of Brussels Unlimited describing what the editors have resolved to do to green their life and work: swap the car for public transport, turn down the heating by one degree and switch it off at night (which saves both money and emissions), eat less meat, buy more organic and fair-trade food, take out a Villo subscription.
- Emily of Live Renewed helps you set green goals for the New Year.
- Mandi Ehman over at yourway.net gives you "111 New Years Resolutions and Tools to Make Them a Reality". We're quite sure you'll find something of interest there.
Want some Brussels-specific tips? Here you go:
- Sign up for the Cambio car- sharing scheme. Here's more on Cambio.
- Try Villo! bike-sharing.
- Become a waste-sorting pro.
- Join your local FreeCycle group and get rid of the stuff you no longer need. If you'd rather sell that stuff on eBay, here are some tips for doing it successfully.
- Check out our Small Steps and Eco-Challenge sections and the Starting out green in Belgium article and sign up to our newsletter.
Still remember the last Car-free Sunday in Brussels? That great atmosphere made you wish for more? Look at this video to find out how Colombian capital Bogotá has struck a balance between allowing for car-free fun and not preventing car drivers from using their vehicle. Brussels-Capital, are you listening? Ciclovía is the word!
The next round of top-level climate change negotiations is currently underway in Cancun, Mexico. Nigel Purvis, writing for the German Marshall Fund, has an interesting take on why these top-level talks may not be the be all and end all for achieving progress:
Global climate talks have begun to resemble a bad soap opera — they seem to never end, yet never really change and at times bear little resemblance to reality. This is why climate diplomacy as we know it is losing its relevance.
Instead, Purvis suggests:
We need to place less emphasis on international promises and more on domestic action, less on burden sharing and more on smart development policies.
The good news: Brussels waste collecting agency Net Brussel/Bruxelles Proprété has collected 25 percent more sorted waste during the first ten months of 2010. Sorting waste has become mandatory last January. The bad news: A lot of people are still unsure what exactly belongs in the blue bag. You too? Fear not, just check out their website at www.netbrussel.be/www.bruxelles-proprete.be for more information. Happy sorting!
If you have attended Jane Goodall's lecture at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel this November, you will probably remember one of the stories she told: a man, Rick Swope, saves a chimpanzee from drowning at the Detroit Zoo. If you want to re-read the story or share it with somebody, here are two links for you:
The City of Brussels adopted the new Local Agenda 21. The 2010 version will strengthen and broaden the 2008 actions on sustainable development on the territory of the City.
The City adopted its first Local Agenda 21 in 2008. The program translates concrete actions of the Agenda 21 to the local level. The Agenda 21 is an international declaration with 2,500 recommendations on sustainable development for the planet in the 21st century. The local version allows the recommendations to suit the terrain and its inhabitants.